'Every Reason to Fail': Miss Montana's story dedicated to veterans, smokejumpers and first responders

MISSOULA - One year after her incredible journey across the globe, Miss Montana’s story is No. 1 on an Amazon best-seller book list.

Angela Marshall met up with the man, who put pen to paper to tell the historic warbird’s story.


“She may be grounded today due to the coronavirus,” said ABC FOX Montana Evening Anchor Angela Marshall, as she points to the grounded Miss Montana at the Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula. “But when in flight, Miss Montana carried dozens of men and women, each with their own story to tell. For the first time in history, Miss Montana’s story is written down for you and I to read.”

“But this was one stop on an incredible journey that had every reason to fail,” said Bryan Douglass, who is the author of ‘Every Reason to Fail.’ “And that to me really captured the whole sentiment of the story.”

And that’s how this warbird’s story got a title.

Bryan Douglass recalled a national television crew traveling to the hanger last year, ahead of Miss Montana’s mission to Normandy to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and to fly overseas for the first time.

It’s one of many stories in this former military man’s arsenal

“It’s got beautiful color. It’s up against the white cliffs of dover. And there really was not question to me as to what was going to be on the cover.”

And under the cover are countless stories connected to Miss Montana.

The book highlights her life from her birth in 1944, being pulled out of the waters of the Monongahela River in 1954, dropping smokejumpers thereafter and undergoing a restoration project unlike any other.

“I thought of all of the people that worked on this piece and supported her, and I felt bad from the beginning that they couldn’t come along and experience everything that we did,” Douglass said. “So I wanted to write this book to hopefully take them along.”

And that’s especially true for the few remaining World War II veterans, who were too frail to make the lengthy journey.

That included John Nelson of Lolo, who fought on D-Day at the age of 17 and lost his life three days after the 75th Anniversary passed.

“And we raised a toast to John Nelson right there on the ramp, in front of the airplane in Wiesbaden and sent the picture to his daughter,” Douglass said, after hearing of Nelson’s passing. “And that’s really why we did all this. Of course, to remember the history of what these planes did, but really recognize the sacrifices that those people made.”

“On this Memorial Day as you remember the men and women who fought for our freedom, also remember that this book is dedicated to them, as well as smokejumpers and first responders,” Angela added.


‘Every Reason to Fail’ is available now on Amazon, in either hardcopy or digital download.

Douglass said that ‘The Book Exchange’ in Missoula has also ordered copies to sell.

And Douglass is looking to hold a book-signing in the near future and inviting everyone who helped write Miss Montana’s story.

ABC FOX Montana will keep you posted when that day comes.

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